the environmentalists who want to keep the estuaries productive and the wild rivers flowing; with the heavy industrial water users; with the municipalities with the utility companies; with the growing legions of owners of second homes; and with many other categories of water users. Some utility companies are going so far as to finance their own water projects. Any method of energy production uses lots of water, but nuclear power plants are especially demanding. The South Texas Nuclear Project, for example, is currently seeking permission to diVert 102,000 acre-feet annually from the Colorado for its cooling towers. All these needs have to be sorted out and clarified into an equitable public Bob Bullock, the Democratic nominee for comptroller, let loose with a press release recently suggesting that the state demand royalties from its oil and gas leases “in kind” rather than in money. Then, Bullock said, the gas could be sold “at lower rates” to the utilities whose supplies from Lo-Vaca Gathering Co., the Coastal states subsidiary, have been curtailed. It sounded like a great idea to the Observer and conversations with Land Commissioner Bob Armstrong and Asst. Atty. Gen. Frank Cooksey indicated they thought it was a pretty good scheme too. So good, in fact, that legislation was passed some time ago to allow the state to take its royalties in kind. The General Land Office has been collecting the oil and gas for two years now. But since the revenue from leases is constitutionally dedicated to the school children of Texas, Armstrong says he asks “top dollar” for it. The commissioner said that if he started selling it “at give-away prices” he would have a number of educational lobbyists righteously out for his hide. The state’s share of the oil and gas is certainly not enough to solve anybody’s energy crisis. Armstrong recently has managed to jack the state’s royalty share on leases from one-sixth to one-fifth, but he estimates that if Texas gathered every possible drop of oil and gas from its leasing operations, the amount “would just barely meet the needs of Austin and San Antonio and maybe the Lower Colorado River Authority.” Meanwhile, he says, the single Alcoa plant at Point Comfort uses as much gas daily as Austin does. In recent years, both Sissy Farenthold and Ronnie Dugger have argued that the state should produce its own oil and gas rather than lease its productive property to entrepreneurs. And 8 The Texas Observer policy. In the near future, the state will need land use regulation, strict pollution control, ground water regulation and well-organized, well-funded grouping of water and land related agencies that operate for the good of the majority rather than the economic benefit of the few. K.N. NOTES 1.J. Frank Dobie, Tales of Old Time Texas, Little, Brown and Co., 1955, p. 93. 2.John Graves, The Water Hustlers, Sierra Club, 1971. 3.”The Executive Director’s Report,” Water for Texas, January-February, 1974. 4.Harold Scarlett, “Swirling water plan,” The Houston Post, May 5, 1974. 5.Ibid. 6.Graves, p. 66 7.Ibid., p. 112. 8.Ibid., p. 28. Political Intelligence Bob Bullock now U.S. Rep. Henry Gonzalez of San Antonio seems to be thinking along the same lines. Gonzalez, who is Coastal States’ most outspoken critic, said recently, “Maybe it’s time that we l’exanize’ ” our natural gas resources. He insists that the Texas Legislature “can do more than stand on the bench while the energy pirates play their games.” Gonzalez also speculates that the reason federal authorities haven’t cracked down on Coastal States for not living up to its contracts is because the company’s founder, Oscar Wyatt, coughed up a $50,000 contribution to Richard Nixon in 1972. “I can see the fine hand of Oscar Wyatt’s political contribution playing a role there,” the congressman says. The Associated Press reports from Indianapolis, Ind., that U.S. Rep. Barbara Jordan says House Judiciary Committee Chairman Peter Rodino has never asked her how she would vote on an impeachment resolution. Jordan was in Indianapolis to address the Indiana Black Expo when a reporter asked her to comment on Rodino’s alleged statement that all 21 Democrats on the committee were ready to vote for impeachment. According to the AP, Jordan said Rodino “has never talked to me about it and I have never said how I was going to vote . . . I don’t feel that black people have become too focused on the matter of impeachment. Whether Richard Nixon is in office or out, you are still going to be black.” Jordan has previously declined to comment on how she might vote. When the Observer asked her the question, as part of its impeachment poll \(see Obs., she replied, “As a member of the House Judiciary Committee . . . [I] should not respond.” Bank and trust the Federal Trade Commission to investigate a Houston bank holding company because, he says, its directors’ ties to energy-producing and -consuming corporations comprise an “institutional interlock” between banks and their customers. Along with Metcalf’s letter went a list of some of First City Bancorporation’s directors and their other affiliations, including: John Connally, a partner in Vinson, Elkins, Searls, Connally and Smith \(which director of Pan American World Airways \(a George R. Brown, Brown & Robes board chairman, a director and executive committee chairman of Texas Eastern Transmission and a director of or partner in seven smaller O&G firms; M. A. Wright, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Exxon U.S.A. and a director of the Exxon Corp.; George F. Kirby, president, chief executive officer and a director of Texas Eastern and a director of the Ethyl Corp.; Herbert J. Frensley, vice chairman of Brown & Root and a director of Texas Eastern; Other directors with ties to Eastern Airlines, Armco Steel, El Paso Natural Gas, United Gas and 20 oil, pipeline and oil-field service companies. The FTC’s chairman, Lewis Engman, has previously testified before Metcalf’s Texanize it!
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The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.